Lucumí Productions To Release ‘Lucumí 20th Anniversary Box Set’

Lucumí Productions is proud to announce the release of a Limited Edition Lucumí 20th Anniversary Box Set whose target date is to be announced soon.

For listener’s who are not familiar with Long John Oliva’s AC (Afro-Cuban) Jazz Project and the  acclaimed classic recording the lineup included Long John Oliva (percussion, vocals), Orlando “Puntilla” Ríos (lead vocal, percussion), José Luis “Changuito” Quintana (drums, timbal, percussion), Omar Sosa “Sokere” (piano, vocal), Rahsaan Fredericks (bass), Julio Jr. Meléndez (trumpet) Bill Ortiz (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jeff Cressman (trombone) and Jesús Díaz (percussion, timbal, vocal).

Long John Oliva - Lucumí - 20 Year Anniversary - Illustration by Jesús Terry
Long John Oliva – Lucumí – 20 Year Anniversary – Illustration by Jesús Terry

Like all of Oliva’s recordings, the music is indicative of Oliva and the AC Project’s use of the Afro-Cuban secular language, collective jazz improvisation and progressive timbres and tempos. The tune, “Zarabanda Culle” exemplifies the AC Project’s distinctive sound, style and irresistible groove!

Another highlight is “Ritmo de Belen” (a nod to the barrio in Cuba where Oliva was born). Imagine, if you will, Harold Arlen’s 1933 classic torch song, “Stormy Weather,” with elements of Blues, Cuban Carnival Conga rhythms, a mesmerizing Cuban melody and witty lyrics. Additional tracks include “El Callejón,” “Inle de Momento,” “Sarandanga,” “Iroko Van Van,” “El Solar de Cuevo Humo,” “Soke Mamdo” and “Oyanza.” 

When it was released in 2002, Lucumí declared the arrival of Long John Oliva, whose mastery of traditional Cuban rhythms, penchant for North American jazz and belief that “there is more to music than clave,” resulted in a new, groundbreaking sound. Indeed, radio show host Nelson González declared Lucumí, “one of the best 100 Latin Jazz albums of all time.”

In 2003, I wrote, “Brace yourself for an extraordinary musical experience via Long John Oliva and his AC Jazz Project!” Twenty years after its release, Lucumí still sounds as vibrant and fresh as the day it was recorded. 

The 20th Anniversary Limited Edition Box Set Will Include

  • Re-Mastered Vinyl Recording
  • Photo book and biographies of Contributing Musicians 
  • Exclusive interview with Peggy Jo Oliva, Producer, Co-Founder of Lucumí Productions.
  • A Limited Edition Long John Oliva Poster.
  • For additional information visit: Lucumi on Behance.

About Long John Oliva

Long John Oliva, who hails from Havana, Cuba, was raised in Belén and surrounded by the sounds of traditional Afro-Cuban music. His father, the master drummer Pancho Quinto started his son’s percussion training at three. At fifteen, Oliva studied with two of Cuba’s finest percussionists, Tata Güines and Changuito

While attending the Conservatorio de la Havana Amadeo Roldan, Oliva discovered jazz, and legendary figures such as Charlie Parker, Herbie Hancock, Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane significantly influenced the emerging “Jazz Rumbero,” not to mention the progressive sounds of Irakere

In 1980, Oliva moved to New York and performed with Orlando “Puntilla” Ríos and Nueva Generación. Next, he moved to Puerto Rico, where he joined the renowned progressive ensemble Batacumbele. Also, during Oliva’s stay in Puerto Rico, he co-founded the innovative ensemble, Zaperoko

In 1986 he relocated to California, where he performed with the legendary Willie Bobo and his Pan-American band until his passing in 1983. Bobo “baptized” Oliva with the name “Long John” for his ability to play long-lasting, tasty solos.

Other artists Oliva performed with include Strunz & Farah, Jackson Browne, Arturo Sandoval, Kenny Loggins, Jane Bunnett, Larry Cramer, Hilario Durán, Dafnis Prieto and Frank Emilio Flynn, among others.

Long John Oliva transitioned in 2004. His music and legacy live on!

Recommended Listening

  • Long John Oliva and the AC Jazz Project – Lucumí (2002)
  • Long John Oliva and the AC Jazz Project – Buscando La Ortografía (2004)
  • Long John Oliva Timba Jazz – Cuba/Rico, Buleya (2004, same album, different title)
  • Pancho Quinto – Rumba Sin Fronteras (2003)

The Lucumí 20th Anniversary Box Set is the first in a series of Box Sets that will pay tribute to Long John Oliva’s artistry. Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available!

Featured photo of Long John Oliva by PJ Oliva – The Baked Potato, 2002

Tomás Peña
Tomás Peña
A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Tomas Peña has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject.

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